Understanding Children and Adolescents who have Experienced Trauma through Neglect, Abuse and Separation

Delivered by

Christina Enright


Format options

In Person | Online

Duration options

3 hrs | 4 hrs | 5 hrs | 6 hrs (1 day)


This course can be presented in various durations and at differing levels of depth as required. It is delivered as two separate sessions, although it might be possible to present either as a stand alone workshop. Please get in touch via the form below to discuss all the various options.

Content Summary:

Caring for children and adolescents who have experienced Developmental Trauma through abuse and neglect and who present with increasingly complex needs and behaviour, can be extremely challenging for carers and professionals.

Changes in the way that the brain develops and functions is a direct response to adapting to the external environment within which a baby or child is developing. Neuroscience shows that the brain is plastic or malleable throughout life; and how with stimulation, new connections are made. Therefore, with the provision of supportive and enriching caring environments for traumatised children, recovery is always hopeful.

Helping carers and professionals to understand how trauma impacts on a developing brain enables them to gain a deeper understanding of the child’s complex functioning and behaviour and to meet the child’s needs to enable recovery, as well as bringing greater compassion to the relationship between them.


Session One : Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this training you can learn about:

  • the neurosequential model of brain development and the mechanisms through which healthy brain development is fostered through positive and responsive relationships.
  • how early childhood neglect, abuse and trauma can have an impact on the physiology of brain and body development as well as how memories are stored
  • how early trauma can impact on a child’s cognitive, social and emotional functioning, as well as how to make sense of presenting behaviours that can be odd or puzzling
  • about the development and maintenance of survival behaviours for traumatised children
  • Polyvagal Theory and the concept of the “Window of Tolerance” helps us to understand emotional triggers and emotional regulation and dysregulation and how to calm a distressed child
  • how blocked trust impacts how a traumatised child develops new attachments
  • the importance of self-care for carers and professionals supporting traumatised children


Session Two: Learning Outcomes 

As a result of attending this training you can learn about:

  • the imperative of safe and emotionally reparative relationships and experiences for supporting a child’s recovery from Developmental Trauma
  • how trauma distorts a child’s perception of the world and how the child’s behaviour is often related to this
  •  the importance of responding to the child’s developmental level rather than their chronological age for getting back on track with their development and recovery
  • how to create a sense of safety in the child’s nervous system to maximise their potential for recovery
  • the importance of co-regulation and the use of emotional styles of responding which will help calm distressed children and enable them to get back on track with emotional development and maturation.
  • about the concept of behaviour as a communication and how to read what is the need expressed by a child/adolescent’s presenting with complex behaviour
  • responding to behaviour -rupture and repair, natural and relational consequences, helping children feel safe enough to learn from experience

Interested in booking?

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Bespoke Training

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Training delivered by

Christina Enright

RN, BSc Psychology, Dip in Family Therapy, MA Child Psychotherapy, Dip Clinical Supervision.

Over the past 17 years, Christina has worked as a psychotherapist with children, adolescents, birth parents, foster carers and adoptive parents. This followed on from 20 years working as a nurse in the NHS. Her experience includes the development of a multidisciplinary clinical service for families experiencing trauma and attachment problems who were reluctant to engage with main-stream social care and mental health services. From 2015-2017 Christina provided trauma consultancy to the clinical team developing a children’s service within the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in the UK.

She also delivers training on child development, trauma and attachment both within the NHS and other education and social care systems across the UK and Ireland.  Her special interest is in early childhood development and the impact of trauma on a child’s developing capacities, functioning and behaviour. From her experience working with children who have endured developmental trauma characterised by neglect and abuse, she has found it necessary to use a comprehensive integrated approach in order to address the multiple complexities which such children present with.

Christina returned to live in Ireland in 2016 and currently works as a Developmental Trauma and Attachment specialist providing training, assessment and clinical interventions on behalf of Tusla Child and Family Agency and in independent practice with birth and adoptive families.